Which Parenting Style Is Most Encouraged In Modern America?

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Which Parenting Style Is Most Encouraged In Modern America?

Being a parent is one of the most challenging jobs in the world. You are responsible for another human being and must do everything in your power to ensure their safety, health, and happiness.

As times have changed, so have the expectations of parents. In the past, it was more common for children to be raised in a strict, authoritarian manner.

However, in recent years there has been a shift towards more permissive parenting styles.

So, which parenting style is most encouraged in modern America? The answer may surprise you. But first, let’s talk about parenting styles in general.

What Is A Parenting Style?

Parenting style is the way in which parents interact with their children. It includes everything from how you discipline your child to the way you communicate with them.

There are many different classifications of parenting styles, but the classic ones distinguish four main types.

The 4 Main Parenting Styles

The 4 Main Parenting Styles

Diana Baumrind, a clinical psychologist, identified four parenting styles in the 1960s.

She categorized them based on two factors: parental responsiveness (how warm and nurturing they are) and parental demandingness (how much structure and rules they set).

The four parenting styles are:

  • authoritative
  • authoritarian
  • permissive
  • neglectful

Each parenting style has different effects on children. We will take a look at each parenting style and its associated outcomes.

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian Parenting

Authoritarian parenting is a style of parenting in which parents have high expectations for their children but are not very responsive to them.

Authoritarian parents are often rigid and unyielding. They may be less likely to explain why they expect certain things from their children and may use punishment more frequently.

Discipline is the main focus of authoritarian parenting. Parents who use this style believe children should be obedient and respect their elders.

They may use fear or intimidation to get their children to comply with their rules. As a result, a child-parent relationship is often tense and filled with fear.

We have asked Brent Metcalf, Licensed Clinical Social Worker practicing at Tri-Star Counseling in Johnson City, Tennessee, to provide us with an insight on authoritarian parenting style:

— Authoritarian parents expect their children to follow strict rules. When their children fail to follow the rules, it usually results in some kind of punishment. However, authoritarian parents usually fail to explain the reasoning behind the rules or behind the punishment. They also tend not to reward positive behavior and typically only provide feedback in the form of punishment for misbehavior.

There are quite a few signs that a parent may be using an authoritarian parenting style:

  • The parent is constantly issuing commands without explanation.
  • The parent threatens or punishes the child for failing to comply with rules.
  • The parent has a rigorous set of rules that the child must follow. The rules are often not negotiable, and the child does not even need to know that such a rule exists. The parent expects the child to blindly obey without question.
  • The parent rarely expresses affection or appreciation for the child.
  • The parent believes that children should be seen and not heard.
  • The parent uses shame and guilt to control the child’s behavior.

Metcalf explains that behaviors mentioned above are not often as straightforward as they might seem. For example, in regards to using shame and guilt:

—This might sound like: “Why do you always do that?”, “How many times do I have to tell you the same thing?” or “You can’t do anything right!”.

The question now arises: what are the reasons for such a parenting style?

There are several reasons why a parent might use an authoritarian parenting style. It could be the result of the way they were raised, or it might be a cultural norm in their community.

Sometimes, it might be the only parenting style that the parent knows.

Experts believe that authoritarian parenting can lead to some negative outcomes in children. These outcomes include:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Difficulty handling frustration or stress
  • Poor social skills
  • A desperate need to please authority figures
  • Feelings of resentment or anger
  • Poor academic performance

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative Parenting

Authoritative parenting is widely considered to be the most effective parenting style. Authoritative parents are both demanding and responsive. They set high standards for their children but are also willing to be flexible and can provide support and guidance. This balance of high expectations and support helps children feel secure and motivated.

Dr. Raffaello Antonino, a Counselling Psychologist, explains:

— Authoritative parenting is about establishing healthy boundaries and rules, while also being understanding of children’s needs and individuality.

Unlike the authoritarian parenting style, authoritative parents encourage their children to be independent and think for themselves. They provide guidance and support, but they also allow their children to make their own decisions. Authoritative parents listen to their children and value their opinions.

Children of authoritative parents are more likely to:

  • Be independent
  • Be self-confident
  • Be successful in school
  • Have good social skills
  • Be able to cope with stress and express their emotions in healthy ways.

Authoritative parenting is not about being a perfect parent. It’s about finding the right balance of support and expectations for your child.

Permissive Parenting

Permissive Parenting

Permissive parenting is a style of parenting in which parents are very responsive to their children but have low expectations for them.

Permissive parents often give their children a lot of freedom and do not provide much structure or guidance.

Permissive parenting characteristics:

  • Children feel nurtured and cared for with generally good self-esteem.
  • Mom and dad feel more like friends than parents.
  • Love with little to no discipline.
  • Emphasis on children’s freedom over their responsibility.
  • Rarely enforcing rules or guidelines.

At first glance, such a parenting style sounds like a dream for your offspring. However, Elliot Pinsly from Behavioral Health Foundation warns:

— Permissive parenting style can lead to blurred lines between the roles of child and parent. While warm, loving child-parent relationships can develop, children may be unsuccessful in maintaining positive relationships outside the home.

Also, Brent Metcalf notes the following:

— Permissive parenting often results in children who rank low in happiness and self-regulation. Children brought up with the permissive parenting style usually experience problems with authority and tend to perform poorly in school.

Neglectful Parenting

neglectful parenting

Neglectful parenting (also known as uninvolved parenting) is a style of parenting in which parents are neither demanding nor responsive. Neglectful parents often have very little interaction with their children and may provide little to no structure or guidance.

Parents who adopt a neglectful parenting style:

  • Have difficulty forming attachments with their children.
  • Act emotionally distant from their child.
  • Are feeling overwhelmed, so they may limit their interactions with their child to conserve energy.
  • Provide little to no supervision.
  • Set few to no expectations or demands on their children.
  • Show little warmth, love, or affection towards their children.

While all parenting styles can have some negative outcomes, neglectful parenting is generally considered the least effective.

— There are no pros of neglectful parenting, at least not for the children, Dr. Raffaello Antonino assures.

Other experts agree with that and continue to stress the adverse outcomes of this parenting style:

— Uninvolved parenting style generally results in poor child-parent relationships, with children often resenting or feeling emotionally abandoned by their parents. Parents using this style have little empathy for their children. Children grow up without a positive parent role model and may feel unloved, Elliot Pinsly states.

Brent Metcalf adds that “they tend to lack self-control, have low self-esteem, and are less competent than their peers.”

What Parenting Style Do Most Parents Use?

What Parenting Style Do Most Parents Use

Research suggests that the authoritative parenting style is America’s most used. According to a study done in Ohio, 66% of responding parents were declared authoritative, while only 25% were said to use permissive parenting. 8% of the parents used authoritarian parenting.

There are many reasons why authoritative parenting is the most used parenting style.

One of them could be related to the fact that this parenting style has been shown to produce children with the best outcomes in terms of academic achievement, mental health, and social skills.

Another reason could be that authoritative parenting is a balance between being too lenient and too strict, making it more suitable for modern families.

Last but not least, authoritative parenting considers that children are individuals with their own needs and wants and that they should be treated as such. This is something that many parents in America today feel strongly about.

While you may want to commit to one of the parenting styles at first, life verifies that being a parent is not always that simple.

You will probably end up using a mix of all the parenting styles depending on the situation, and that is perfectly normal.

In the words of Elliot Pinsly:

— Most households in the United States use a blended parenting style that pulls from two or more of the four conceptual parenting models (most often starting with authoritative and authoritarian). Sticking to one parenting style throughout a child’s upbringing is more idealistic than realistic. That said, authoritative parenting style appears to be the most commonly used in the U.S., followed by authoritarian and permissive styles.

It is also important to remember that parenting styles are not static. They can change over time as children grow and develop and as parents learn more about what works for their family.

Experts Respond: Which Parenting Style Is Most Encouraged?

Now that we know which parenting style is the most used in America, it is time to ask the experts which one they believe is the most encouraged.

Elliot Pinsly, president of Behavioral Health Foundation, does not doubt what to answer this question:

— Authoritative parenting is the most encouraged style in the United States today, with an emphasis on ensuring necessary confrontations of children remain largely positive without coercion. Research shows that an authoritative parenting style generally helps children develop strong social skills, high self-esteem, and school success. The payoff from the patience and commitment necessary from parents to maintain this parenting style consistently and positively is usually high-functioning children and strong, healthy parent-child relationships.

While all parenting styles have pros and cons, most experts agree that authoritative parenting is the most encouraged style in modern America.

This is because it is a balance between being too lenient and too strict, and it considers that children are individuals.

Additionally, authoritative parenting has been shown to produce children with the best outcomes in terms of academic achievement, mental health, and social skills.

This parenting style requires a lot of work and commitment from parents, but the payoff is usually worth it.

If you are looking for a parenting style that will produce happy and successful children, then authoritative parenting is something to reach for.